Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the leading opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is bickering over insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari is planning on self-succession in the 2023 elections.
The Presidency had on Tuesday told the PDP and any other opposition party to shelve their 2023 ambitions because the vast majority of Nigerians esteem President Muhammadu Buhari and will never abandon him for any other party or candidate.
Presidential Spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, said shortly after observing the Eid prayers in Daura, Katsina State that “the President enjoys unshakable support, not only in his hometown, but also across the country and it is enough for the opposition to admit that the President matters a lot for the ruling party and Nigerians in general.
“Again, he constitutes a political obstacle they cannot dismantle come 2023. We believe the PDP and other opposition parties are nursing false hopes of taking power come 2023.
“The masses will never abandon President Buhari’s leadership and the APC. I assure you that in 2023, the masses will be waiting for the President to what he has been building for the country in terms of infrastructure and the wellbeing of young people in the country. Nobody will take the risk by inviting another party to come and take over in 2023,” he said.
In response, the PDP slammed the Presidency, saying that the assertion that Nigerians will be waiting for President Buhari “to show the way in 2023” has further heightened public apprehensions of a self-succession plot by the cabal in the Presidency.
In a statement by its Spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, titled, ‘Buhari Presidency’s 2023 Comments Smacks of Self-Succession Plot,’ the PDP said: “Nigerians were jolted when President Buhari’s spokesman, Shehu Garba, publicly announced in Daura, Mr President’s hometown, that President Buhari ‘constitutes a political obstacle’ which those who seek to succeed him, come 2023 ‘cannot dismantle.’
“Such statement by the Presidency, which is in its last lap of the second and final tenure in office, is not only provocative but also smacks of plots to derail our constitutional democratic order.
“Perhaps the comment by the Buhari Presidency explains why there has been a heavy onslaught against our institutions of democracy as well as the Electoral Act.”
He said that the PDP and the majority of Nigerians across the board and party lines “are issuing a stern warning to the President’s handlers” to note that such plots cannot stand as they will be firmly resisted.
But on Wednesday, the APC said that the insinuation that President Buhari intends to perpetuate his stranglehold on power after his tenure ends in 2023 is unfounded as Buhari will not act like former President Olusegun Obasanjo who plotted to amend the constitution to spend a third term in office.
In the twilight of his second term, Obasanjo was widely reported as making attempt to elongate the constitutionally allowed terms of office. He was accused of bribery attempts which he repeatedly denied.
The APC said, at the appropriate time it would come up with a consensus and agreeable presidential candidate that would represent it in the 2023 general elections.
John Akpanudoehede, National Secretary, APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), stated this in reaction to the PDP statement accusing it of self succession plans, saying: “After our Congresses and the National Convention, we will shock them (PDP) by bringing a consensus and an agreeable candidate that will fly the flag of the party come 2023.
“APC has no third term agenda like PDP. What we are doing now is to stabilise the party and not allow individual ambitions to derail President Buhari’s administration.”